Jerusalem – Just a few weeks before, many chareidi rabbonim forbad eating strawberries because they are heavily infested with tiny insects which are impossible to completely remove. The announcement removed the popular delicacy from the table of many frum homes.
Then the sensational news was published throughout Israel: Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar announced in a shiur that one may eat strawberries after rinsing them in water and removing their leafy tops! The news appeared in Israel’s leading newspaper and even in the chareidi world’s leading VosIzNeias web blog.
Many reported relief upon hearing the lenient psak. Others sideswiped at the poskim who always seem to find a new prohibition to saddle the public with.
But now the Shas party organ reports that Rav Amar’s psak was quoted incorrectly. They asked Rabbi Shlomo Amar for his clarification, and he explained that his shiur had been about worms which are not visible to the eye and had nothing to do with strawberries.
“It never occurred to me, chalila, to dispute the prohibition against eating visible worms!” he says firmly. “To say otherwise is misleading.”
Rav Amar explained, “I was speaking about a recent tshuva I had just written which dealt with worms that are not visible to the eye. I wrote that according to many great poskim of our generation, led by Rav Ovadya Yosef (SHU”T Yecheve Daas 6:47), they are not forbidden. I further was mechadesh that they are not even considered ‘worms’ according to halacha.”
Rav Amar said in the shiur that if, for example, strawberries had such invisible ‘worms’ on them, the strawberries would not be prohibited to eat. Obviously, the strawberries were only mentioned by way of illustration and not as the basis for a chiddush or a psak.
The Chief Rabbi reiterates that as experts have shown, strawberries are infested with worms which are visible to the eye and can be seen without the help of a device. These worms must be avoided, and if it is not possible to clean strawberries of them, then strawberries may not be eaten.